I use Clip Studio Paint to make about 99% of all my comics and comic-related work. Occasionally I’ll use something else, but there’s really nothing comparable to the specialized features Clip Studio has when it comes to making comics.
One of the best features of the software is not really directly part of the software itself, but part of the related services provided by Celsys: the Clip Studio assets site. You can find downloadable materials you can use in your art and comics, from brushes to 3D models to patterns and textures. Some of these assets cost money, but there are a LOT of free assets available, and there are some really great ones out there.
Here are a few of my favorites, some of which are complete lifesavers.
1. The Only Perspective Grid You Need by OutlawEric
The Only Perspective Grid You Need (TOPGYN) is a tool made by OutlawEric (@0utlaweric on Twitter) that helps you more easily adjust your perspective grids. I can never get my vanishing points placed exactly the way I want, and this asset helps immensely. You just drag both parts into your canvas, and then move the target around until the perspective looks like way you want. More detailed instructions are available on the Clip Studio Assets site.
2. Height scales by various creators
Theoretically, this is something I could have made myself, but sometimes I’m lazy and this is convenient. These height scales allow you to set up 3D models so you can make them scaled properly with one another. For example, I recently set up a batch of 3D models customized to match the heights and builds of most of my comic characters. I used these backgrounds to get them all looking like the correct height when stood together in a lineup.
This is a super useful reference when I’m putting a bunch of characters in a scene together, to make sure every character stays more or less “on model.” I’m not usually super concerned about that, but it really makes a difference when you need several characters to look consistent across several pages or an entire chapter. This has been especially useful in the past few chapters of Follower, where I’ve got multiple adult humans of different shapes and sizes, plus Leah, a kid, among them.
Here are a few different scales I’ve made use of:
3. Close and Fill Tools by K96
There are several of these tools made by K96 and they all sort of work in a similar way. You make lineart, you put a layer underneath it, you use the lasso to select around the lines you want to fill, as casually as you like, and it automatically fills the layer. Super simple for doing quick fills.
They also have these cute ice cream cone icons so they’re very easy to identify in your toolbar.
4. Erase Along Reference Edge by pharan
Seriously, a lifesaver. Set your lineart as reference, select the color layer beneath, use this eraser and it’ll erase everything outside of the lines. Nice for doing quick, easy cleanup. Made by @pharanbrush on Twitter!
5. MaaBlur Brush by 774─
This blur tool is set up just right for making parts of your drawing look like they’re receding into the background. Use it to draw your focus to parts of the scene you want viewers to, well, focus on.
Try Clip Studio Paint for free
If you’ve never used Clip Studio Paint before, and want to try it out yourself, you can get a 30 day free trial by clicking the link below. If you buy a standalone (desktop) version of the software, or a subscription (mobile) version, I’ll receive a commission, so it’s a win-win for everybody. I recommend CSP to basically everyone I talk to digital art about, and I come from a long Adobe-using background. The price is unbeatable, and the features are constantly improving. I can’t say enough good things about it.
Maybe my next article will be about my favorite brushes! There are so many….
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